Diplomacy is a neglected aspect of Hellenistic history, despite the fact that war and peace were the major preoccupations of the rulers of the kingdoms of the time. It becomes clear that it is possible to discern a set of accepted practices which were generally followed by the kings from the time of Alexander to the approach of Rome. The republican states were less bound by such practices, and this applies above all to Rome and Carthage. By concentrating on diplomatic institutions and processes, therefore, it is possible to gain a new insight into the relations between the kingdoms.
This study investigates the making and duration of peace treaties, the purpose of so-called 'marriage alliances', the absence of summit meetings, and looks in detail at the relations between states from a diplomatic point of view, rather than only in terms of the wars they fought. The system which had emerged as a result of the personal relationships between Alexander's successors, continued in operation for at least two centuries. The intervention of Rome brought in a new great power which had no similar tradition, and the Hellenistic system crumbled therefore under Roman pressure.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Aims and Plans
Part I: Techniques and Practices
1. The Origins of Hellenistic Diplomacy
2. Royal Marriages
3. Cities, Summits, States, Envoys
Part II: Diplomacy in Action - The East
4. The Diplomacy of the First Syrian Wars (272 – 241)
5. Aegean Diplomacy: Ptolemy I to Aratos of Sikyon
6. The Diplomacy of Antiochos III – I: The Greek World
Part III: Diplomacy in the West
7. Ionian Sea Diplomacy
8. The Diplomacy of Rome and Carthage - I
9. The Diplomacy of Rome and Carthage - II
Part IV: The Collision of East and West
10. The Diplomacy of Antiochos III – II: The Roman Crisis
11. The Diplomacy of Peacemaking, 222 – 188
12. Rome and Greece 188 – c.120
13. The Later Syrian Wars (195 – c.140)
John D. Grainger was a teacher for a quarter of a century and gained his PhD from Birmingham University in 1990. He then turned to writing full-time and has published over 30 books, mainly on Hellenistic history and on modern military history.
"Grainger marshals his considerable knowledge of the Hellenistic world to make a good case for the unique character of international affairs in the two centuries after the death of Alexander, showing in the process what we can gain by explaining the interactions among the Antigonids, Seleucids, Ptolemies, and Romans in terms of their diplomacy, not simply of their wars ... Students of Hellenistic history who already have a good grasp on the major players, events, and territories will benefit from Grainger’s palpable erudition and range and may find fresh treatments of particular episodes."
- Daniel Tober, Fordham University, USA, Bruyn Mawr Classical Review 2018
"He [Grainger] does offer valuable insight into international relations between the great powers of the Hellenistic world."
- Carol J. King, Memorial University, Mouseion: Journal of the Classical Association of Canada